Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Truth Is Sometimes Ugly

A writer for Iceland Review Online found that she descends from a Viking named Bjálfi—which means "idiot" in modern Icelandic—through his colorful grandson Egill Skallagrímsson.

Most of the Vikings of the sagas were heroes - beautiful, generous, well-built men, who always did the right thing but got caught up in the web of fate and died in a tragic way.

My ancestor, Egill, was not like this. In Egils Saga, Egill is described as remarkably ugly and dangerously violent. At the age of seven he killed his playmate in a hockey game. Unlike most other Vikings in the sagas, Egill had trouble finding a girl to marry because of his looks. On top of it all, Egill had a big problem with alcohol. (Ironically, the biggest brewery in Iceland is named after him). [Link]

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